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Swim fairness

This morning I got to the pool before the woman who always has the far lane. But there was a man in that lane. He didn't look like a good swimmer, so I figured he wouldn't last very long. All the rest of the lanes were full, too, so I said yes when the swimmer in the middle lane offered to share.

About ten or fifteen minutes later the woman walked in, her hair down, not ready to swim, and she met the guy in that far lane. He got out and she placed her equipment on the ledge, essentially proclaiming the lane as hers. She then fixed her hair in its cap and took off her outer clothing and so on. It was at least ten minutes before she even touched the water. I have never attempted to "hold" a lane. It doesn't seem proper and I do not think that it is.

I found this really irritating. I was tempted to grab the lane after she had put her stuff there but before she was actually ready to swim. But I thought that would look pretty nasty so I didn't.

Of course what is really ridiculous here, and don't think that I don't think of it, is that I should complain. I can swim, with or without sharing a lane, I can get in my strokes, and the fact that I don't get the lane I really want should not irk me so. I am priviledged, to say the least. I recognize how fortunate I am, and I recognize that letting stuff like this bother me even for a short time is not serving me. But I'm not a saint. I do take the time to enjoy the lights underwater, the darkness of the room at that early hour, the feel of the water on my skin. I do not love swimming but there are things that I can love about it, and I do. I can forgive myself my small-mindedness too.


Judith Lautner
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January 2012


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